Professor Chris Turney
Field of Research: 
Past global climates and environments, abrupt change, dating the past
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 8647

Room 552A
Biological Sciences North (D26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052


Chris Turney is a recently completed Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Professor of Climate Change and Earth Science at the University of New South Wales. Working across the globe, Chris is extending historic records back to 130,000 years ago to improve projections of future climatic and environmental change. As part of this work, Chris set up and co-ordinates the international Earth's Past Future Project ( He is UNSW node Director and Climate Theme Leader of the new Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodoversity and Heritage ( and is a member of the International radiocarbon Calibration group (IntCal). In UNSW, he is co-director of the Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research (PANGEA) Centre and is also a member of the Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC). Chris co-ordinates and teaches on GEOS3761 ‘Environmental Change’.

Chris has published more than 170 research papers, 1 textbook and 3 popular science books, attracting more than 14,000 citations. He has an H-index of 44 in Scopus (49 in Google), and 2 Highly Cited Papers listed in Thomson Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators. Described by the UK Saturday Times as the ‘new David Livingstone’, Chris’ team communicate their findings in the field as Intrepid Science (, reporting discoveries when they happen, where they happen. Chris has received numerous awards, including the Australian Academy of Sciences Frederick Stone Award (2014), the Geological Society of London’s Bigsby Medal (2009), the PhilipLevehulme Prize (2008) and the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) inaugural Sir Nicholas Shackleton Medal (2007). To do something positive about climate change, he helped set up a carbon refining company called CarbonScape ( which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products. 

Chris is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Meteorological Society, the Geological Society of London, the Royal Geographical Society and the Higher Education Academy.

See also Chris Turney



Dr Jonathan Palmer

Dr Zoë Thomas




Helen Millman (PhD candidate) – The West Antarctic Ice Sheet and global sea level change during the Last Interglacial

Susan Rule (PhD candidate) – Centennial to millennial perspectives on tropical climate variability from the last glacial to the present: A palaeoecological analysis from Lynch’s Crater, northeast Queensland

Recently Completed PhDs

Willem Huiskamp – The Southern Hemisphere Westerly winds and their role in climate change during the late Holocene

Alex Rouillard – Reconstructing extreme hydroclimatic variability in semi-arid northwest Australia

Jessica Roe – High-resolution (sub-decadal) reconstruction of environmental and climate change in tropical Australia over the past 2000 years

Alan Williams – Re-dating the human settlement of Australia

Zoë Thomas – Prospects for the detection of tipping points in palaeoclimate records

Mark Grosvenor – The long-term resilience of the Furness Peninsular: Human-climate-landscape interaction in the Holocene

Thomas Roland – Investigating human responses to past climate change: Lessons for the future



GEOS3761 Environmental Change



Tobler, R., Rohrlach, A., Soubrier, J., Bover, P., Llamas, B., Tuke, J., Bean, N., Abdullah-Highfold, A., Agius, S., O’Donoghue, A., O’Loughlin, I., Sutton, P., Zilio, F., Walsh, K., Williams, A.N., Turney, C.S.M., Williams, M., Mitchell, R.J., Kowal, E., Stephen, J.R.,  Williams, L., Haak, W. and Cooper, A. (2017) Aboriginal mitochondrial genetic lineages reveal founding population movements and regionalism in Australia. Nature, 544, 180-184, doi: 10.1038/nature21416.

Turney, C.S.M., Jones, R.T., Phipps, S.J., Thomas, Z., Hogg, A., Kershaw, A.P., Fogwill, C.J., Palmer, J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Adolphi, F., Muscheler, R., Hughen, K.A., Staff, R.A., Grosvenor, M., Golledge, N.R., Rasmussen, S.O., Hutchinson, D.K., Haberle, S., Lorrey, A., Boswijk, G. and Cooper, A. (2017) Rapid global ocean-atmosphere response to Southern Ocean freshening during the Last Glacial. Nature Communications.

Turney, C., Fogwill, C., Palmer, J., van Sebille, E., Thomas, Z., McGlone, M., Richardson, S., Wilmshurst, J., Fenwick, P., Zunz, V., Goosse, H., Wilson, K.-J., Carter, L., Lipson, M., Jones, R., Harsch, M., Clark, G., Marzinelli, E., Rogers, T., Rainsley, E., Ciasto, L., Waterman, S., Thomas, E.R. and Visbeck, M. (2017). Tropical forcing of increased Southern Ocean climate variability revealed by a 140-year subantarctic temperature reconstruction. Climate of the Past, 13, 231-248, doi: 10.5194/cp-13-231-2017.

Turney, C.S.M., Wilmshurst, J.M., Jones, R.T., Wood, J.R., Palmer, J.G., Hogg, A.G., Fenwick, P. Crowley, S., Privat, K. and Thomas, Z. (2017) Reconstructing atmospheric circulation over southern New Zealand: Establishment of modern westerly airflow 5500 years ago and implications for Southern Hemisphere Holocene climate change. Quaternary Science Reviews, 159, 77-87, doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.12.017. 

Fogwill, C.J., Turney, C.S.M., Golledge, N.R., Etheridge, D.M., Rubino, M., Thornton, D.P., Baker, A., Woodward, J., Winter, K., van Ommen, T.D., Moy, A.D., Curran, M.A.J., Davies, S.M., Weber, M.E., Bird, M.I., Munksgaard, N.C., Menviel, L., Rootes, C.M., Ellis, B., Millman, H., Vohra, J., Rivera, A. and Cooper, A. (2017) Antarctic ice sheet discharge driven by atmosphere-ocean feedbacks during the Last Glacial Termination. Nature Scientific Reports, 7, 39979.

Grosvenor, M.J., Jones, R.T., Turney, C.S.M., Charman, D.J., Hogg, A., Coward, D., Wilson, R. (in press) Human activity was a major driver of the mid-Holocene vegetation change in southern Cumbria: Implications for the elm decline in the British Isles. Journal of Quaternary Science.

Jones, R.T., Turney, C.S.M., Lang, B., Brooks, S.J., Rundgren, M., Hammarlund, D., Björck, S. and Fogwill, C.J. (2017) Delayed maximum northern European summer temperatures during the Last Interglacial as a result of Greenland Ice Sheet melt. Geology, 45, 23-26, doi: 10.1130/G38402.1.

PAGES2k Consortium (in press)  A global multiproxy database for temperature reconstructions of the Common Era. Scientific Data.

Palmer, J.G., Turney, C.S.M., Fogwill, C., Fenwick, P., Thomas, Z., Lipson, M., Jones, R.T., Beavan, B., Richardson, S. and Wilmshurst, J. (2017) Growth response of an invasive alien species to climate variations on subantarctic Campbell Island. New Zealand Journal of Ecology. Accepted 24 February 2017.

van der Kaars, S., Miller, G.H., Turney, C.S.M., Cook, E.J., Nürnberg, D., Schönfeld, J., Kershaw, A.P., Lehman, S.J. (2017) Humans rather than climate the primary cause of Pleistocene megafaunal extinction in Australia. Nature Communications, 8, 14142, doi: 14110.11038/ncomms14142.

Turney, C.S.M., Jones, R., Lister, D., Jones, P., Williams, A.N., Hogg, A., Thomas, Z., Compo, G.P., Yin, X., Fogwill, C.J., Palmer, J., Colwell, S., Allan, R. and Visbeck, M. (2016) Anomalous mid-twentieth century atmospheric circulation change over the South Atlantic temperatures compared to the last 6000 years. Environmental Research Letters, 11 (6), 64009-64022.

Turney, C.S.M., Jones, R.T., Thomas, Z., Palmer, J. and Brown, D. (2016) Extreme wet conditions coincident with Bronze Age abandonment of upland areas in Britain. Anthropocene, 13, 69-69. doi: 10.1016/j.ancene.2016.02.002.

Turney, C.S.M., Palmer, J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Adolphi, F., Muscheler, R., Hughen, K.A., Staff, R.A., Jones, R.T., Thomas, Z.A., Fogwill, C.J. and Hogg, A. (2016) High-precision dating and correlation of ice, marine and terrestrial sequences spanning Heinrich Event 3: Testing mechanisms of interhemispheric change using New Zealand ancient kauri (Agathis australis). Quaternary Science Reviews, 137, 126-134.

Turney, C.S.M., Palmer, J., Hogg, A., Fogwill, C.J., Jones, R., Ramsey, C., Fenwick, P., Grierson, P., Wilmshurst, J., O’Donnell, A., Thomas, Z., and Lipson, M. (2016) Multi-decadal variations in Southern Hemisphere atmospheric 14C: Evidence against a Southern Ocean sink during the Little Ice Age CO2 anomaly. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, doi: 10.1002/2015GB005257.

Turney, C.S.M., Jones, R.T., Fogwill, C., Hatton, J., Williams, A.N., Hogg, A., Thomas, Z.A., Palmer, J., Mooney, S. and Reimer, R.W. (2016) A 250-year periodicity in Southern Hemisphere westerly winds over the last 2600 years. Climate of the Past, 12, 189-200.

Turney, C.S.M., McGlone, M., Palmer, J., Fogwill, C., Hogg, A., Lipson, M., Thomas, Z., Wilmshurst, J., Fenwick, P., Jones, R., Hones, B. and Clark, G. (2016) Intensification of Southern Hemisphere westerly winds 2000 to 1000 years ago: Evidence from the Subantarctic Auckland and Campbell Islands (50-52 ̊S).  Journal of Quaternary Science, 31, 12-19, doi: 10.1002/jqs.2828.

Cooper, A., Turney, C., Hughen, K. (2016) Response to Comment on “Abrupt warming events drove Late Pleistocene Holarctic megafaunal turnover”. Science, 351, 927.

Metcalf, J.L., Turney, C., Barnett, R., Martin, F., Bray, S.C., Vilstrup, J.T., Orlando, L., Salas-Gismondi, R., Loponte, D., Medina, M., De Nigris, M., Civalero, T., Fernández, P.M., Gasco, A., Duran, V., Seymour, K.L., Otaola, C., Gil, A., Paunero, R., Prevosti, F.J., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Wheeler, J.C., Borrero, L., Austin, J.J., Cooper, A. (2016) Synergistic roles of climate warming and human occupation in Patagonian megafaunal extinctions during the Last Deglaciation. Science Advances, 2, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1501682.

Cook, B.I., Palmer, J.G., Cook, E.R., Turney, C.S.M., Allen, K., Fenwick, P., O'Donnell, A., Lough, J.M., Grierson, P., Ho, M. and Baker, P.J. (2016) The paleoclimate context and future trajectory of extreme hydroclimate events in eastern Australia. Journal of Geophysical Research, 121, 12,820-12,838, doi: 10.1002/2016JD024892.

Fogwill, C.J., van Sebille, E., Cougnon, E.A., Turney, C.S.M., Rintoul, S.R., Clark, G.F., Marzinelli, E.M., Rainsley, E.B. and Carter, L. (2016) Impacts of a developing polynya off Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica, triggered by grounding of iceberg B09B. The Cryosphere, 10, 2603–2609. Reported in Nature Geoscience by Tynan, E. (2016), 9, 869.

Hogg, A.*, Southon, J., Turney, C.*, Palmer, J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Fenwick, P., Boswijk, G., Friedrich, M., Helle, G., Hughen, K., Jones, R., Kromer, B., Noronha, A., Reynard, L., Staff, R. and Wacker, L. (2016) Punctuated shutdown of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation during the Greenland Stadial 1. Nature Scientific Reports, 6, 25902, doi: 10.1038/srep25902. *Corresponding author.

Hogg, A., Southon, J., Turney, C., Palmer, J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Fenwick, P., Boswijk, G., Büntgen, U., Friedrich, M., Helle, G., Hughen, K., Jones, R., Kromer, B., Noronha, A., Reinig, F., Reynard, L., Staff, R. and Wacker, L. (2016) Decadally-resolved Lateglacial radiocarbon evidence from New Zealand kauri. Radiocarbon, 58(4), 709-733, doi: 10.1017/RDC.2016.86.

Johnson, C.N., Alroy, J., Beeton, N.J., Bird, M.I., Brook, B.W., Cooper, A., Gillespie, R., Herrando-Pérez, S., Jacobs, Z., Miller, G.H., Prideaux, G.J., Roberts, R.G., Rodríguez-Rey, M., Saltré, F., Turney, C.S.M. and Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2016) What caused extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna of Sahul? Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2399.

Palmer, J.G., Turney, C.S.M., Cook, E.R., Fenwick, P., Thomas, Z., Helle, G., Jones, R.J., Hogg, A.H., Southon, J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Staff, R., Muscheler, R., Corrège, T., and Hua, Q. (2016) Changes in El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions during the Greenland Stadial 1 (GS-1) chronozone revealed by New Zealand tree-rings. Quaternary Science Reviews, 153, 139-155.

Phipps, S.J., Fogwill, C.J. and Turney, C.S.M. (2016) Impacts of marine instability across the East Antarctic Ice Sheet on Southern Ocean dynamics. The Cryosphere, 10, 2317-2328. doi: 10.5194/tc-10-2317-2016.

Rodríguez-Rey, M., Herrando-Pérez, S., Brook, B.W., Saltré, F., Alroy, J., Beeton, N., Bird, M.I., Cooper, A., Gillespie, R., Jacobs, Z., Johnson, C.N., Miller, G.H., Prideaux, G.J., Roberts, R.G., Turney, C.S.M. and Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2016) A comprehensive database of quality-rated fossil ages for Sahul’s Quaternary vertebrates. Scientific Data, 3, 160053, doi: 10.1038/sdata.2016.53.

Rouillard, A., Greenwood, P.F., Grice, K., Skrzypeka, G., Dogramacia, S., Turney, C. and Grierson, P.F. (2016) Interpreting vegetation change in tropical arid ecosystems from sediment molecular fossils and their stable isotope compositions: A baseline study from the Pilbara region of northwest Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, doi: . 10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.07.023.

Rouillard, A., Skrzypeka, G., Turney, C., Dogramacia, S., Hua, Q., Zawadzkid, A., Reeves, J., Greenwood, P., O’Donnell, A.J., Grierson, P.F. (2016) Evidence for extreme floods in arid subtropical northwest Australia during the Little Ice Age Chronozone (CE 1400-1850). Quaternary Science Reviews, 144, 107-122.

Saltré, F., Rodriguez-Rey, M., Brook, B.W., Johnson, C.N., Turney, C.S.M,  Alroy, J., Cooper, A., Beeton, N., Bord, M.I., Fordham, D.A., Gillespie, R., Herrando-Pérez, S., Jacobs, Z., Miller, G.H., Nogués-Bravo, D., Prideaux, G.J., Roberts, R.G. and Bradshaw, C.J.A.  (2016) Climate change not to blame for Australia’s Late Quaternary extinctions. Nature Communications, 7, 10511, doi: 10.1038/ncomms10511.

Wilson, K.-J., Turney, C., Fogwill, C. and Blair, E. (2016) The impact of the giant iceberg B09B on population size and breeding success of Adélie penguins in Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, doi: 10.1017/S0954102015000644.

Winter, K., Woodward, J., Dunning, S.A., Turney, C.S.M., Fogwill, C.J., Hein, A.S., Golledge, N.R., Bingham, R.G., Marrero, S.M., Sugden, D.E., Ross, N. (2016) Assessing the continuity of the blue ice climate record at Patriot Hills, Horseshoe Valley, West Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 43, 2019-2026.

Wood, J.R., Wilmshurst, J.M., Turney, C.S.M. and Fogwill, C. (2016) Palaeoecological signatures of vegetation change induced by herbivory regime shifts on subantarctic Enderby Island. Quaternary Science Reviews, 134, 51-58.

Cooper, A.*, Turney, C.*, Brook, B.W., McDonald, G., Hughen, K.A., Bradshaw, C.A. (2015) Abrupt warming events drove Late Pleistocene Holarctic megafaunal turnover. Science, 349, 602-606, doi: 10.1126/science.aac4315. *Corresponding author.

Turney, C.S.M., Thomas, Z.A., Hutchinson, D.K., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Brook, B.W., England, M.H., Fogwill, C.J., Jones, R.T., Palmer, J., Hughen, K.A., Cooper, A. (2015) Obliquity-driven expansion of North Atlantic sea ice during the last glacial. Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 10,382-10,390.

Turney, C.S.M., Fogwill, C.J., Klekociuk, A.R., van Ommen, T.D., Curran, M.A.J., Moy, A.D., Palmer, J.G. (2015) Tropical and mid-latitude forcing of continental Antarctic temperatures. The Cryosphere, 9, 2405-2415.

Clark, G., Marzinelli, E.M., Fogwill, C., Turney, C. and Johnston, E.L. (2015) Effects of sea-ice cover on marine benthic communities: A natural experiment in Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica. Polar Biology, 38, 1213-1222.

Fogwill, C.J., Turney, C.S.M., Hutchinson, D.K., Taschetto, A.S., England, M.H. (2015) Obliquity control on Southern Hemisphere climate during the last glacial. Nature Scientific Reports, 5:11673, doi: 10.1038/srep11673.

Fogwill, C.J., Phipps, S.J., Turney, C.S.M., Golledge, N.R. (2015) Sensitivity of the Southern Ocean to enhanced regional Antarctic ice sheet meltwater input. Earth's Future, 2015EF000306.

Johnson, C.N., Rule, S., Haberle, S., Turney, C.S.M., Kershaw, A.P., Brook, B.W. (2015) Using dung fungi to interpret the decline and extinction of megaherbivores: Problems and solutions. Quaternary Science Reviews, 110, 107-113.

O’Donnell, A., Cook, E., Palmer, J., Turney, C., Page, G. and Grierson, P. (2015) Tree rings show recent high summer-autumn precipitation in northwest Australia is unprecedented within the last two centuries. PLOS One, 10(6): e0128533 , doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128533.

Palmer, J.G., Turney, C.S.M., Hogg, A.H., Lorrey, A. and Jones, R.J. (2015) Progress in refining the global radiocarbon calibration curve using New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) tree-ring series from Oxygen Isotope Stage 3. Quaternary Geochronology, 27, 158-163.

Palmer, J.G., Cook, E.R., Turney, C.S.M., Allen, K., Fenwick, P., Cook, B.I., O’Donnell, A., Lough, J., Grierson, P. and Baker, P. (2015) Drought variability in the eastern Australia and New Zealand summer drought atlas (ANZDA, CE 1500–2012) modulated by the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. Environmental Research Letters, 10, 124002, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124002. 

Rodríguez-Rey, M., Herrando-Pérez, S., Gillespie, R., Jacobs, Z., Saltré, F., Brook, B.W., Prideaux, G.J., Roberts, R.G., Cooper, A., Alroy, J., Miller, G.H., Bird, M.I., Johnson, C.N., Beeton, N., Turney, C.S., Bradshaw, C.J. (2015) Criteria for assessing the quality of Middle Pleistocene to Holocene vertebrate fossil ages. Quaternary Geochronology, 30, 69-79.

Roland, T.P., Daley, T.J., Caseldine, C.J., Charman, D.J., Turney, C.S.M., Amesbury, M.J., Thompson, G.J. and Woodley, E.J. (2015) The 5.2 ka climate event: Climate implications from stable isotope and multi-proxy analysis of peat records in Ireland. Quaternary Science Reviews, 124, 209-223.

Rouillard, A., Skrzypek, G., Dogramaci, S., Turney, C. and Grierson, P.F. (2015) Impacts of high inter-annual variability of rainfall on a century of extreme hydrological regime of northwest Australia. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 19, 1-22.

Saltré, F., Brook, B.W., Rodríguez-Rey, M., Cooper, A., Johnson, C.N., Turney, C.S. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2015) Uncertainties in dating constrain model choice for inferring extinction time from fossil records. Quaternary Science Reviews, 112, 128-137.

Thomas, Z.A., Kwasniok, F., Boulton, C.A., Cox, P.M., Jones, R.T., Lenton, T.M. and Turney, C.S.M. (2015) Early warnings and missed alarms for abrupt monsoon transitions. Climate of the Past, 11, 1621-1633.

van Sebille, E., Scussolini, P., Durgadoo, J.V., Peeters, F., Biastoch, A., Weijer, W., Turney, C., Paris, C., Zahn, R. (2015) Ocean currents generate large footprints in marine palaeoclimate proxies. Nature Communications, 6, doi: 10.1038/ncomms7521. 

van Sebille, E., Waterman, S., Barthel, A., Lumpkin, R., Keating, S.R., Fogwill, C. and Turney, C. (2015). Pairwise surface drifter dispersion in the western Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 120, 6769-6781, doi: 10.1002/2015JC010972.

Williams, A.N., Veth, P.M., Steffen, W., Ulm, S., Turney, C.S.M., Phipps, S., Smith, M., Reeves, J. (2015) A continental narrative: Human settlement patterns and Australian climate change over the last 35,000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews, 123, 91-112.

Williams, A.N., Ulm, S., Turney, C.S.M., Rohde, D., White, G. (2015) Holocene demographic changes and the emergence of complex societies in prehistoric Australia. PLOS One, 10, e0128661. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128661.

Wilmshurst, J.M., McGlone, M.S. and Turney, C.S.M. (2015) Long-term ecology resolves the timing, region of origin and process of establishment for a disputed alien tree. Annals of Botany Plants 7, doi: 10.1093/aobpla/plv104.

Wilson, K.-J., Turney, C., Fogwill, C. and Hunter, J. (2015) Low numbers and apparent long-term stability of south polar skuas Stercorarius maccormicki at Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica. Marine Ornithology, 43, 103-106.